HIV is the short form of human immunodeficiency virus. If not treated properly, HIV leads to AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Once acquired, the human body can never completely get rid of HIV.
HIV attacks certain cells in our body that are responsible to fight infections. Over time, the body may completely lose its ability to fight infections. In such a state the body becomes prey to infections or cancers, leading to death.
Currently, there is no cure for AIDS but it can be controlled if treated properly.
There are three main stages of HIV:
First stage is called acute HIV infection. In this people experience flu like illness which can last for a few weeks. People with acute HIV infection have large amount of virus in their bloodstream. Such people are very contagious but are also often unaware that they are infected with HIV.
2nd stage is called clinical latency. It is also called as chronic HIV infection. In this stage, HIV is active in the body but it is reproducing very slowly. Such people are also very contagious and can be in this state for over a decade without any treatment.
Third stage is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
This is the most severe phase of HIV infection. the immune system of such people is not able to fight even small infections. As a result, many opportunistic illnesses like cancer attack the body.
Persons in this stage live for around 3 years without treatment. Such persons are highly contagious and are treated in secluded medical facilities.
The only way to get diagnosed for HIV is to get tested. If you are experiencing flu like illness, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches or mouth ulcers, you should go and get tested for HIV.
HIV is generally spread by having sex what sharing syringes with someone infected with HIV.
Doing safe sex by using condoms is the first step in the prevention of HIV. Never use a syringe or any injection equipment that has been used earlier. Medical facilities should ensure all kinds of injection equipment are destroyed after a single use.